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Five underrated aspects of the Bills’ Monday Night Football game against the Seahawks

1. Monday night woes

The Bills are 0-5 on Monday Night Football over the course of their 16-year playoff drought. Their last win was a 1999 game against Dan Marino and the Dolphins.

The five loses over that timeframe have been painful. After getting crushed by the Colts, 44-20, in 2000, the Bills didn’t get back to MNF until 2007. That was the 25-24 heartbreaker against Dallas, when the Cowboys scored a touchdown, missed the two-point conversion, got the onside kick and drove into range for Nick Folk’s game-winning field goal all in the last 24 seconds.

In 2008, the Bills lost to Cleveland in the final minutes, 29-27. The 2009 season opener was the 25-24 loss to New England that Bills fans probably remember as the Leodis McKelvin fumble game. Tom Brady threw two touchdowns in the final 2:06 to win. Then there was last year’s Patriots game in Foxborough, a 20-13 loss. The Bills should’ve had one last shot at the end zone but a referee error kept the clock running down to zero.

The Bills did beat the Jets in Detroit on a Monday night two years ago when Ralph Wilson Stadium was full of snow, but the league decided that wasn’t officially “Monday Night Football." (Eye roll emojis.)

2. Gruden on the call

ESPN’s Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden have the call for the nationally televised game. ESPN thinks it has a star in Gruden, the former NFL head coach, and I’m inclined to agree. Gruden is charismatic and excitable and dissects plays in real time better than anyone. He's going to have a field day with nickel back Nickell Robey-Coleman. What a name, man.

3. Reggie Bush needs 2 yards

The Bills called a play in the red zone last week where running back Reggie Bush had an option to throw a pass if he had a receiver open.

Bush never got that far. Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower blew up the play behind the line of scrimmage, and Bush tried to toss the ball back to quarterback Tyrod Taylor before being thrown to the ground. Officially, Bush ran 10 yards backward and then fumbled. That brought his final line to two carries for -8 yards.


It was certainly a bit of bad luck for Bush, but it wasn't the first time this year he'd finished a game with negative yardage. In fact, at the halfway point of the Bills season, Bush has carried nine times for a total of -2 yards – a historic rate of futility.

A non-quarterback hasn't finished a season with negative rushing yards on at least nine carries since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Chicago Bears fullback John Adams was the last player to do so, running 14 times for -2 yards in 1961. There's only a dozen or two instances of this happening dating back to 1920.

Bush is questionable for the game with a groin injury, but if he plays, feel free to cheer when/if he breaks back into positive yardage.

4. And yet ... the Bills still rank first in the NFL in yards per carry

By a lot, actually. Buffalo's runners average 5.5 yards per carry. Miami is next at 5.0 and then three teams are tied at 4.9.

The Bills' ground game vs. the Seahawks' run defense could be a key matchup Monday. The Bills are expected to get LeSean McCoy back from a hamstring injury, but Seattle allows the fourth-fewest yards per carry (3.6). However, Seattle has allowed a 100-yard runner in each of the last two weeks, and defensive end Michael Bennett will miss the game after having arthroscopic knee surgery this week.

5. The Percy Harvin redemption tour

Harvin came out of retirement on Tuesday and will play on Monday against his former team. He said this week that he didn't give much thought to his trade from the Seahawks to the Jets in the middle of the 2014 season, but come on. He went from the Super Bowl champs to a team that fired Rex Ryan after the season.

The Seattle Times reported at the time of the trade that Harvin had gotten into an altercation with fellow receiver Golden Tate just before the Super Bowl, leaving Tate with a black eye. The paper added that he also had an incident with another fellow receiver, Doug Baldwin, during training camp the following year.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor seemed to enjoy getting a new toy earlier this year, hitting Justin Hunter for touchdowns in each of his first two games. Taylor and Harvin had good chemistry last year, so who knows what the gifted wide receiver will have in store Monday.

Bonus: Seattle's crowd noise

The Seahawks’ stadium is known as being one of the loudest in the NFL. It held the world record for stadium noise until 2014, when Kansas City Chiefs fans posted a higher decibel level. Bills fans tried to break the record last year against the Patriots but didn't come close. As proof that Seattle's "12s" make it hard on opponents, the Seahawks offer this stat: Since 2005, home opponents have committed more false start penalties against the Seahawks than any other team – 150 of them, more than one and a half per game.

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